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People working across Greater Manchester’s hospitality scene are being offered fully-funded opportunities to drive productivity and progression following the effects of Covid-19.
Backed by Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) three-year Skills for Growth programme aims to upskill and retrain employees to aid staff retention, boost morale and attract new staff into the industry.
Through the programme’s bespoke Skills for Growth - SME Support service, which is being delivered by GC Business Growth Hub, businesses in the city-region can work with qualified Skills Coaches for up to six months who will offer an in-depth business diagnostic and workforce development plan tailored to achieve the business’ growth ambitions as well as creating personal employee development plans and signposting to appropriate training courses.
Speaking about the programme, Mr. Lord said: “This is huge for the hospitality sector. We have seen an exodus of workers over the past two to three years and many operators are having huge difficulties either attracting new staff to plug skills gaps, or financing training programmes to upskill existing employees.
“This programme offers hope to operators across Greater Manchester’s hospitality and night-time economy sector and will give them a real helping hand through these difficult economic times."
Hospitality is an important sector for the city-region, accounting for approximately 86,000 jobs, equating to more than 6% of Greater Manchester’s workforce.
However, the sector has suffered astronomically due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is now experiencing an increase in job vacancies at much higher levels than seen pre-pandemic. As of August 2021, there were around 2,500 unfulfilled hospitality jobs in Greater Manchester.
Skills for Growth tackles challenges like this in hospitality - and in other industries - by working directly with businesses to understand their needs and offering responsive support.
Cheadle based events business, Fresh Approach UK, has seen staff undertake 96 training courses since engaging with Skills for Growth – SME Support, which have helped to create four new jobs, increase productivity by 20 per cent and make £18,000 in savings.
Kelly Humphreys, Head of Support, Fresh Approach UK, said: “We’ve had a great experience with the Growth Company, accessing funded training for over half our team.
“We would not have been able to offer this number or variety of training to the team without the support of the team at Skills for Growth - SME Support or the funding towards training.”
One key part of the programme is the Greater Manchester Skills Map – an online resource pulling together fully funded commissioned provision across a number of industries as part of the wider Skills for Growth programme as well as other training opportunities outside of Skills for Growth that are available to businesses and individuals in Greater Manchester.
The resource acts as a ‘one stop shop’, making navigating the skills system much easier for employers and learners.
Currently, the directory holds information from more than 200 training providers, including top universities, colleges and commercial organisations and lists more than 2,000 different training courses as well as 457 apprenticeship programmes.
The resource is open to all SMEs in Greater Manchester but for full access, businesses must be registered on the programme.
Some of the training listed on GM Skills Map specific to the hospitality industry include:
• Hospitality and catering (food production and cooking)
• Food safety
• Hospitality leadership
• Security and customer service programme
• Equality and diversity in the workplace
• Customer service for hospitality
Dawn Duggan, Head of People Skills and Talent at GC Business Growth Hub said: “Businesses across the hospitality industry are feeling the impact of skills shortages and we want to work with as many of them as possible to ensure they are accessing the range of training available to them.
“Skills for Growth is all about helping SMEs, including the likes of bars and restaurants in Greater Manchester, to grow by identifying skills gaps and providing both the businesses and individuals with training and development to fill them.
“Hospitality businesses that work with us also get the chance to shape the future of the training landscape in Greater Manchester. When we identify skills gaps we feed this information back to Greater Manchester Combined Authority who then look to develop bespoke, fully funded training to support others in the city-region’s hospitality workforce to thrive.
“We know that it’s a challenging time for the hospitality industry and we’d urge any business that thinks they could use some help with skills shortages to get in touch to see what we can do for them.”